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Excerpt from

A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment

Glenn J. Treisman, M.D., Ph.D. and Andrew F. Angelino, M.D.

“The effective recognition and treatment of psychiatric disorders in an HIV clinic can overcome these problems [of adherence to medical care]. To achieve this, psychiatric services in HIV clinics are directed at three primary goals:

Improved quality of life for persons with HIV. The treatment of psychiatric disorders results in reduced psychiatric symptoms and improved function. Patients can work, engage in relationships, enjoy activities, and live more independently. They feel better, and they live better.

Increased ability to tolerate and engage in medical treatment. The treatment of psychiatric disorders leads to better adherence to medical regimens and scheduled medical appointments. Alleviating psychiatric symptoms leads to a better foundation for medical treatment because of improved function. Patients with resources obtain better treatment, and patients in relationships have the necessary support to help them with difficult treatment. They also have more reasons to live longer and to work at caring for themselves.

Decreased risk for transmitting HIV. Patients responding to psychiatric treatment are better organized and able to engage in preventive measures. Patients who are no longer depressed take better care of themselves and those who are no longer addicted to drugs have better control over their relationships and sexual lives.

The results of these interventions benefit the patients, the medical team, and society as a whole. The patients have improved outcomes, and the medical team members develop a sense of satisfaction and therapeutic optimism for the care of patients. Decreased propagation of the epidemic improves the general human condition.”

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Treisman, Glen J.,M.D., Ph.D. and Andrew F. Angelino, M.D. Forward by John G. Barlett, MD.
The Psychiatry of AIDS: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment. pp. 4-5 @ 2004 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Reproduced with permission of the The Johns Hopkins University